In a strange melding of coffee worlds, single-serve coffee giant Keurig is putting its heft behind a new product designed to support much smaller “local” roasting companies in the United States.
The Keurig Dr Pepper brand has just announced it is taking pre-orders for a limited-edition, 40-pack of K-Cup pods called the Keurig Love Blend, with purchases providing some form of support to numerous specialty coffee roasting companies that have in some way collaborated on the product, according to Keurig. The specifics of the collaboration or support have not been spelled out.
While admirable on the surface, the effort shines a light on the unfortunately broad chasm separating the “local” specialty coffee roasting segment — which doesn’t technically exist in this era of online shopping — and the globally minded single-serve segment.
Without identifying individual companies, players in the latter segment do tend to benefit from competitive advantages such as economies of scale in purchasing and production, while smaller specialty coffee companies tend to be more focused on sustainability, differentiation and their local communities.
In Keurig’s case, parent company Keurig Dr Pepper leveraged such advantages in its coffee portfolio to help spur strong second-quarter financial results and a surge in the company’s stock price, despite the ongoing pandemic that has dealt crushing blows to many independent coffee companies.
“Significant growth in brewers and K-Cup coffee pods for at-home consumption more than offset a significant drop-off in the office coffee and hospitality businesses,” the company told investors in its Q2 results announcement. “E-commerce demonstrated particular strength during the quarter, reflecting an acceleration of consumers shifting some of their purchases to the on-line channel, including at the Keurig.com retail site.”
For its latest e-commerce effort, the Keurig Love Blend campaign, Keurig has produced some videos featuring roasters and owners from each of the five specialty-focused participating companies, including Tectonic Coffee of Los Angeles, Mojo Coffee Roasters of New Orleans, Hero Coffee Bar of Chicago, Portrait Coffee of Atlanta, and Mighty Oak Roasters of New York City.
It must be noted that each of these companies has roasted, bagged coffees available online for sales directly to consumers for shipping all over the United States.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher (at) dailycoffeenews.com, or see the "About Us" page for contact information.